Oral Communications

The most important direct effect of hearing loss is increased difficulty with oral communication. This difficulty pervades the life of hard of hearing, late deafened, and oral deaf people, because so much of what we do on a daily basis involves face-to-face communication.

Many hard of hearing, late deafened, and oral deaf people avoid situations that require them to understand spoken communication. This can include everything from taking classes to social interactions to certain aspects of employment. They may become increasingly isolated as they drop more and more previously enjoyable activities.

We encourage you to continue reading for a thorough treatment of oral communication involving a person with hearing loss. But if you’re short of time or you’re looking a one page “handout” to give to people. Please visit out “Tips for the Hearing Person” and “Tips for the Person with Hearing Loss”.

Factors that affect the success of face-to-face communication include the environment in which communication is attempted and characteristics of both the speaker and listener. The willingness of both parties to mitigate these factors can greatly improve the effectiveness of communications.

In addition to optimizing the communications factors, a person with hearing loss can adopt a variety of communications strategies to maintain communications. Options include speech reading, cued speech, and sign language.

Finally, when the application of strategies and controlling of factors does not yield a successful conclusion, the person with hearing loss may adopt one of several expedients to get through the situation.

November 2001 – Show People What you Hear

January 2006 – Audiologists and physicians are realizing that difficulty processing information and poor listening skills may contribute to difficulty understanding spoken communication. A recently-developed program called LACE is designed to address these issues.

February 2006 – LACE offers hearing help!

June 2006 – Understanding, Not Anger

July 2006 – What to do about loud music in restaurants

August 2006 – More on what to do about loud music in restaurants

August 2006 – How to Avoid the Din when Dining Out

January 2007 – Help With Hearing a Conversation: Everyday Tips for Those with Hearing Loss

February 2007 – No escape from background music – a pain in the ear

December 2007 – Clear Speech for Communication Partners

August 2009 – An Open Letter to My *Hearing* Friends

August 2009 – Taking up music so you can hear

February 2010 – Restaurants Becoming Noisier

June 2010 – HLAA Convention: What is Being Said? What is Being Heard?

June 2010 – HLAA Convention: Strategic Listening to Maximize Communication

September 2010 – Tips for good communications

January 2010 – Is Auditory Training Effective in Improving Listening Skills?

More on this and related topics

Show People What You Hear

November 2001 – I recently ran across a GREAT website that plays audio files which simulate what people with various hearing losses hear in various listening environments. The user can select from a variety of hearing loss patterns and severities, speakers, and listening environments, and then hear what a person with hearing loss might hear with and without amplification. The site is probably not of much value to people with significant hearing loss, but it’s a great way to give your hearing friends and relatives a sense of what you can hear in various situations.

To check this out, point your browser tohttp://www.sphr.pdx.edu/students/hearingsimulator/ But be careful! There was no sound in the first sample I clicked on, and I thought something was broken. Then I thought about the selections I had made and I realized that I was hearing what a person with a profound hearing loss would hear listening to a quiet speaker in a quiet environment without amplification – nothing!

LACE Offers Hearing Help

February 2006[The] unlikely marriage of rock and science led to the creation of a computer program that can help people cope with diminished hearing. LACE, for Listening and Communication Enhancement, is based on the notion that even though hearing loss can never be reversed, listening skills can be improved. All of this came about because Sweetow connected with the [Grateful] Dead in the ’90s.

How to Avoid the Din when Dining Out

August 2006

Hip and trendy restaurants encourage buzz. Loud conversation and music are considered mood enhancers, and young customers, especially, equate din with good times. Sometimes that is exactly what you want. But when the buzz becomes a roar and you have to yell at your table mates, then there’s a problem. Think about your last restaurant experience. Did you have to raise your voice to carry on a conversation? Did background noise make you repeat and repeat what you said? Will you ever go back?  

No escape from background music – a pain in the ear

February 2007

HEARING-AID wearers of the world, unite! Join me in my mission to ban background music, which plagues our hearing in all walks of life. A stroll around Circular Quay has turned into a cacophony of buskers vying for our attention, making it an impossible venue for chatting with friends. 

Restaurants Becoming Noisier

February 2010

La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, a 16-month-old restaurant in San Francisco, hits every fashionable trend in restaurant design. The 300-seater occupies an 11,000 square-foot loft space in a historic converted ferry building. The floors are hardwood, the ceiling beams exposed, and the wood tables bare. It has an open kitchen and a large bar. A wall of windows overlooks the bay. The result: It is the ultimate noise trap. Many of the most cutting-edge, design conscious restaurants are introducing a new level of noise to today’s already voluble restaurant scene. The new noisemakers: Restaurants housed in cavernous spaces with wood floors, linen-free tables, high ceilings and lots of windows-all of which cause sound to ricochet around what are essentially hard-surfaced echo chambers. 

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